Emergency A/C Advice Needed - System Down!

stevevanosMay 20, 2012

I am in a bind! My AC went out last Wednesday and now I have diagnosis of problem and bottom line is that it is now

my turn to buy a total new system. But, I need some good advice because now I must make it in a hurry which is never good.

The compressor has gone out in my current non-heat pump regular AC system. Here are the facts...

- 2500 sq ft 2-story house, new when I moved in back in May 1999. 500 sq ft of finished basement not included in 2500 sq ft. House faces west.

- Original system - Bryant evaporator and furnace. Original condenser hit by lightning in 2003 and replaced by Goodman condenser. It is a 4 ton unit.

Duct work is marginal for 4 ton as I have two plenums with branch off the main vertical plenum and each of these is 8x14". Furnace is an 80% efficiency furnace.

- We tend to like it 'cold' in the house in the summer and Thermostat is usually on 69-71.

OK, I've received 3 quotes so far, but vender 3 is over the phone and he is coming Monday to verify. Each company is quoting similar remedies as I understand it. Here is basically what each company is quoting.

System 1 - SEER 13 AC system (not heat pump) which includes replacing condenser and evaporator coil with 410a system and flushing my line set (7/8 and 3/8") which runs about 25-30 ft

through sheetrocked soffet in finished basement and not easily removable.

Vendor 1 (one I like the best) - Westinghouse FS4BD model 3.5 ton 13 SEER 10-10-10 warranty (yes, 10 years on labor he said!) $3388

Vendor 2 - Armstrong 413LE, 10/10/1 warranty, 3.5 ton, $3380 4-ton would be $3680

System 2 - SEER 15 dual fuel Heat Pump system with new 90% AFUE furnace

Vendor 1 - Westinghouse Heat Pump FT4BE 3.5 ton SEER 15 new furnace 10/10/10 warranty $6688

Vendor 3 - Aries (Lennox) Heat Pump 15 SEER and replace furnace 10/10/1 warranty $6100

Here is a question I have... My furnace (gas) just finished its 13th winter, but should last another 5-10 years right? So, why can't I have them install just a 15 SEER Heat Pump system with new coil and keep

using my old 80% furnace which will only be used on those winter days when daytime temp is less then 30 degrees (one guy said 25 degrees). Must I also bite the bullet for a new furnace at this time. However,

Vendor #3 said that he would replace the furnace for only an extra $1200 (part of the $6100 he is quoting which means he wanted $4900 for just heat pump system).

Any other advice, like what are good brands and not so good brands and should I call Sears and get a quote from them, would be appreciated.


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What is your location?

Any idea of your nat gas and electric rates?

If your furnace is in good working order, you can certainly keep it. I will assume it s sized correctly. The only negative here is its efficiency and the fact that high eff condensers AC and HP can not be utilized because of the conventional blower system on your furnace. Just stick with a good basic 13 SEER AC or HP.

It is important that lineset size is the correct size for any new condenser especially if you intend to keep old and flush. This is not a small detail.

Also, I would want a complete ductwork evaluation as to size of trunk lines and supply and return ductwork. If you have any hot/cold spots in home, now is the time to address.

I realize you are in a breakdown situation. However, don't rush in. Do your homework and get it right.

I realize this is a biased statement but I do not recommend purchasing anything from Sears especially HVAC. It is a mistake using third party for HVAC. Go through an independent dealer with a track record. And just for info, Westinghouse is one of the brands of old appliance names in the Nordyne family of HVAC. The name is licensed and has absolutely nothing to do with the product name you are probably familiar.

I would like to hear back from you on your location and rates before I made a final recommendation.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:18AM
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